In this current time of big brands and mainstream advertising, there are moments when we should ask ourselves; how much is being invested into advertising and is it having an impact on the quality of the merchandise?
Walk into any shopping arcade in London and jewellery shops are promoting big brand names through the use of clever advertising, celebrity endorsements and the creation of desire. Looking specifically at watches; it can be a minefield trying to work out which brands are expensive due to their high quality and which are simply cheap and nasty movements encapsulated in a slightly less cheap branded outer shell.
We believe high street watch manufacturers can be split into two main categories; fashion brands and watch only brands.
Fashion brands are the likes of Hugo Boss and Armani. Historically these brands have specialised in clothing but have entered into multi-product portfolios as they grow. This is the type of brand we think you should steer clear of when it comes to watches; but perhaps not their clothing. Watches by these mainstream clothing brands often contain very cheap mechanics and anecdotal evidence suggests a lot of this 'type' of cheap watch don't make it past their first birthday! You could argue that this is acceptable in the eyes of the fashion conscious. Unfortunately for those with a closer relationship with timepieces, these watches will simply not suffice.
Watch brands, or timepiece manufacturers that specialise purely in the manufacturing of watches include the likes of Tissot, Tag and Casio. These brands have lived and breathed watches from the very beginning and their sole purpose and attention is focussed on developing and manufacturing watches. So with more focus on what matters, the quality and design should increase. These brands however are often not quite so cheap in terms of initial outlay. However buying a slightly less cheap watch initially will save you money in the long run.
But surely there is some middle ground I hear you ask? Well yes. There are some manufacturers that specialise only in high quality watches; spending much less time effort and more importantly money on branding etc and more where it matters – the movement and quality of parts. These types of manufactures are more common online as some of their cost savings are supported through the decision to not rent out expensive high street stores. I suppose a good way to describe this type of online watch store is a boutique luxury watch store specialising in cheap watches without the branding; the Matalan of clothing if you like – low cost but also pretty decent quality. When you find one of these watch brands then you really have struck gold. Unfortunately they are becoming less common as mainstream brands dominate; but there are still some great little finds if you are willing to look hard enough for them.
Ultimately it’s about where you would prefer an organisations spending to go; advertising, packaging and all the superficial elements of a product or the product itself. I realise it sounds stupid, and obvious, but believe me there are many successful brands out there that are operating the former business model and making a lot of money from unwitting watch purchasers.
To conclude then, when buying a cheap watch online we suggest you do some research into the business and try to get a feel for their operational policies. What do others say about the timepieces they are offering? Are they luxurious and cheap? Some might say you can have both; but on occasion and with the right about of knowledge you really can buy a cheap watch that is also luxurious and high quality.